Tuesday, 5 December 2006
Rod's Xmas Message
TO: All the ministry
FROM: Roderick C. Meredith
DATE: December 4, 2006
Dear Fellow Elders of Jesus Christ,
Greetings from Charlotte! An emergency situation has arisen causing me to want to write to you immediately. When Mr. Charles Bryce was dismissed from his post as the Director of the Ministry over a year ago, he stomped off as a very unhappy man, refusing to come and speak to me afterwards even though he was asked to do so twice by Dibar Apartian upon my behalf. He seemed to be licking his wounds and, we hear, was very unresponsive to many of the brethren there in the Texas area when they tried to call him and contact him for visiting and anointing. However he has now “made his move.” He sent a Fed-Ex package to us here in Charlotte on this past Thursday with identical letters enclosed for four of our Headquarters Evangelists—Apartian, Ames, Winnail and me. This letter explains how he is recreating his version of “Armstrongism.” He expresses that he is unhappy with a number of doctrines and teachings now, that seems a little strange to me, however, as Charles was with us for the last 11 or 12 years and suddenly decides to get upset now all of a sudden. His letter is simply a sort of “rehash” of the approach taken by Gerald Flurry and David Pack. He states his concern that, “LCG teaches that we live in a time of the ‘Greater Church of God’ made up of different branches or church groups.” Mr. Bryce goes on to say that this is wrong—indicating that we should not recognize these other groups as Churches of God.
He then says, “LCG seems to be preaching a mixed, confusing message about the gospel, i.e. that the gospel is the good news of forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s sacrifice and of the soon-coming kingdom and government of God and the name of Jesus Christ. There seems to be movement toward the gospel about Christ and the gospel of salvation.” He then goes on to state that Mr. Armstrong emphasized only the “good news of the kingdom of God”—and then indicates that us talking about Christ may be a dangerous thing!
He then states, “LCG teaches that several church eras exist contemporaneously and that we are living in the Laodicean era as a remnant of the Philadelphia church.” He thinks Mr. Armstrong taught something else and condemns us for this.
Later, he states, “LCG teaches that we have a three-fold commission. Mr. Armstrong taught the church has a two-fold commission—a) Preach the gospel and b) Feed the flock. The warning message is contained in that commission.” So Mr. Bryce here is implying we are wrong by apparently stating—from time to time that preaching the Ezekiel commission is part of our job. All of you know that I have never stated that the idea of the primary two-fold commission is wrong, but have indicated there are other things we should be doing also—just as Mr. Armstrong did.
Without going into every detail, fellow ministers, it is obvious that Mr. Bryce wants to recreate a certain version of Armstrongism and have his people follow that version—which he feels is set in stone. Near the end of his letter, Mr. Bryce states, “If all of us will come back to see the wrong places the church is in now and together get back to the faith once delivered—all the way back and not one iota short of it—we truly believe that God will pour out His blessing on His church and give us the real breakthrough we have all been anxiously waiting for since the beginning.” As you can see, fellow ministers, Mr. Bryce is adamant that we must change “not one iota” of what he thinks Mr. Armstrong was teaching at a particular point and time. However, Mr. Apartian and I who knew Mr. Armstrong fifty times better than Mr. Bryce spent thousands of hours with him both recognize—as Mr. Ames stated—“Mr. Armstrong was an innovating and forward looking man and would grow, modify and ‘tweak’ various doctrines and teachings from time to time when Christ led him to.” As you men know, Mr. Armstrong did change his approach to divorce and remarriage, to healing and medicines, to makeup—in fact back and forth three different times—and to Pentecost, and to quite a number of other things. He definitely would keep growing and modifying if he were still alive. Frankly, he would be surprised that we would think that he would not do this and that some individuals are now teaching that his ideas—at a particular time of their creation—were all “set in stone” as the Ten Commandments! Mr. Armstrong was not like that! So we, as a Church, intend to follow Mr. Armstrong and honor him as he told us to. For Mr. Armstrong said again and again, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” We intend to do that. And, as he would have wished, we intend to put Christ first and grow in grace and in knowledge as we are now in the 21st century, situations change and we need to move forward in many different ways as we reach the entire world in our modern time. We are not ever going to change or modify the Sabbath, the Holy Days or any basic doctrines—as I am sure you all know. But we do intend to follow Jesus Christ and His standards—not the ideas brought up in different ways by the likes of Gerald Flurry, David Pack and Charles Bryce. We are going to reach the whole world with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. That is what God commands us to do, and I hope all of you men will join with us fervently and prayerfully in doing this. I hope the above information can help you answer the questions of our brethren as they hear about Mr. Bryce’s defection—along with his son-in-law, Larry Solomon, and perhaps a number of local elders or those who decide to join in this division which they are causing within the Church of God. Unfortunately, after a year or two, the “excitement” of their new organization will fade and they will probably sink into the obscurity that so many others have done who leave the Work which the living Jesus Christ is now doing through us—as He did through Mr. Armstrong. We will appreciate your communication, your prayers and your loyalty at this time.
Your brother in Christ,
Roderick C. Meredith
Commentary: Rod must've been thoroughly rattled - he calls the Church of God "Armstrongism"! An early reaction from one well informed LCG reader: "Remember how Meredith assured us all that Bryce had been begging and pleading to leave Charlotte and take up the quiet life of a regional pastor? Ah, how history changes. Now we are told he "stomped off as a very unhappy man." The rest of the letter speaks mostly for itself...
So far no comment on the Bob Thiel site.